Just in time for pleasant Spring weather across the U.S., Rutgers Cooperative Extension and the Cooperative Extension system launched an online Small Steps to Health and Wealth™ (SSHW) Challenge called "Spring 2012 SSHW Challenge." This free six-week program, open to anyone who enrolls online, will be held from Sunday, April 15, through Saturday, May 26, 2012. Prizes will be awarded for participants who report the highest point totals.
To sign up for the SSHW Challenge, follow the "Challenges" link on the Small Steps to Health and Wealth™ Web site at http://njaes.rutgers.edu/sshw/. Set up a user name and password and download a simple one-page user's guide with instructions about how to proceed. Enroll in the Challenge titled "Spring 2012 SSHW Challenge."
The SSHW Challenge is part of Small Steps to Health and Wealth™, a national Cooperative Extension program developed to motivate Americans to take action to simultaneously improve their health and personal finances. SSHW was built around a framework of 25 research-based behavior change strategies. The Challenge was originally developed in a "paper and pencil" format with printed worksheets and is now available online.
It has been well documented that, when people monitor their behavior and measure their how they're doing, they are often inspired to do better and achieve positive results. Participants in a SSHW Challenge are "on their honor" to report their activities accurately. If they "cheat" on reporting their points, they are only cheating themselves by not following the recommended daily practices.
The SSHW Challenge is based on the performance of ten recommended practices on a daily basis: five that involve health and nutrition and five that involve financial management. Ten points are given for performing each one for a maximum of 700 points per week and 4,200 points for the entire challenge. "The Challenge is a great way to convert personal goals, like losing weight and saving money, into daily action steps," notes Dr. Barbara O'Neill, Extension Specialist in Financial Resource Management for Rutgers Cooperative Extension.